Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson believes Phil Foden could be the man to fill the void left by David Silva’s departure from Manchester City.
Hodgson takes his side to the Etihad Stadium on Sunday afternoon looking to build on Thursday’s goalless draw at Arsenal.
City sit just four points off the top of the Premier League table heading into the weekend’s fixtures and have a game in hand on both Manchester United and Liverpool – who meet at Anfield on Sunday.
Foden hit the only goal of the game as Pep Guardiola’s side beat Brighton on Wednesday to extend their winning run to four games, having taken 20 points from a possible 24 since losing to Tottenham on November 21.
The 20-year-old has impressed this season and is starting to play regularly having had to wait patiently for his chance.
“He has been very well managed by the club and had been integrated into the first-team in a very clever way, a very sensible way,” former England manager Hodgson said of Foden.
“Of course you can do that when you have so many other good players around you – you can afford to leave a player of his quality out because you have got other fantastic players in your squad.
“I think they have done it very well, he has obviously worked very hard at his game and has got better, as everyone knew he would with Premier League and Champions League experience.
“Now he is in the international set-up he is going to get better and better, it is fantastic really that after losing a player of David Silva’s quality, who really lit the league up over a long period of time, they have now managed to find another player from their own ranks who is looking likely to take over that mantle.”
Hodgson’s challenge will be to find a way to stop Foden and his in-form City team-mates.
It is something the Eagles will have to do without injured defender Mamadou Sakho – who had been linked with a move away from Selhurst Park before suffering a thigh injury.
Hodgson was keen not to put a timeframe on his recovery but stressed he expects to be without the former Liverpool man for “weeks”.
“At the moment, my medical people are telling me it is still early days, they are still looking into the injury, but all I know is that it’s a proper injury,” he added.
“We are not talking about someone who is going to play on Sunday against Man City. But I don’t know quite how bad the injury is or how long it will keep him out.
“I’ll have to wait until our medical department give me the details and give me the green light – I fear it is going to be weeks at least, without a doubt.
“It was a very serious injury to happen to someone who had worked so very hard to get himself back able to play again.
“But he has come back before and I am always hopeful that an injury that could potentially be a long one, won’t be a long one because he will find a way of getting himself back fit again.”
Meanwhile, Palace have confirmed midfielder Max Meyer has left the club by mutual consent.
The 25-year-old German has failed to live up to expectations since arriving from Schalke in 2018 and has not featured in the Premier League this season.
He leaves Selhurst Park having made 56 appearances, scoring twice.
Get the best features, fun and footballing frolics straight to your inbox every week.
Thank you for signing up to Four Four Two. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.